Just a few days after the election, the Left is already splitting into two camps: those who call for total obstruction of GOP congress, a-la Mitch McConnell in 2009, and those who find such tactic counterproductive. I’m in the latter camp. There are several reasons.
First, Democrats right now have a very weak electoral standing: we lost the control of government on all levels: local, state and national. Such power vacuum will deprive us of levers we need to execute a sound resistance strategy.
Second, the dynamic of modern-day US politics is such that the public treatment of left obstruction is different than the treatment of right obstruction. Right obstruction is viewed by the public as more legitimate and worthy of sympathy than similar attempts coming from the left. There are many reasons for that, fair and unfair, and we can complain about them, but that is the reality.
Third, Democratic weakness is out there in the open and everyone knows it. So any attempt at flexing muscle is laughable at this point. It’s like trying to bluff your opponent off a hand with nothing, when everyone at the table knows you don’t have a hand. However righteous your impulses might be right now, it’s not a noble fight of David vs Goliath. David, in our case, is weak, disoriented and without a weapon. And Goliath knows it.
Fourth, Chuck Schumer, who would technically lead the rebellion, would no doubt be a subject of anti-Semitic attacks, subtle or not-so-subtle, if not from Trump, then from his base. Those attacks will likely succeed at reaffirming Trump’s base suspicion that there’s some sort of international cabal that prevents him from bringing jobs back to Ohio, given the current Zeitgeist. Trump knows how to play this game of innuendos perfectly.
Fifth, if and when Trump encounters problems with his agenda, he won’t be able to blame it on Democratic minority. We should not let him have a ready scapegoat. He won, he should show us all what he’s got. It’s his party now. We should not give him reasons to point fingers. If he wants to point fingers it should be at his own Congress and Paul Ryan, not the Democrats.
You have to know when to fold’em, folks, and now is the time. There will be a better time to push forward, but it’s not today.
5 thoughts on “Against Obstruction”
If Democrats fold and let the Republicans do all they want, that’s just going to reinforce the stereotype of Democrats as the party that isn’t willing to stand up for their agenda. And, of course, that’s going to let the Republicans do anything they want to dismantle whatever rights and environment protections we got to so far, and set the country back decades. And as you can imagine, when the balance of power will eventually switch and the Democrats win the presidency and Congress, the Republican obstruction will make it extremely difficult to reverse any damage the Republicans could do until then.
So I say we should accept the results, but do all we can with whatever resources we have. All the tricks the Republicans have used are now fair game – ok, maybe not all, shutting down the government, refusing to accept the legitimacy of the government, threats of the armed protests, and stuff like that – that should be off the table.
Then we have to pick and choose our fights. Not a blanket scorched-earth approach. Works for GOP, won’t work for us.
I agree, and that’s why I wrote that some stuff should be off the table.
Also, I think Schumer should try to bait Trump into confrontation with Ryan. Bring up jobs, infrastructure spending, etc. If he cuts taxes on hedge funds, hammer him on this. Might work.
It might – or Trump might not even care about his campaign promises now that he got the job, and would just let Ryan set the legislative agenda.